Upgrading CPU

Hi, it has been many years since I got my hands on hardware.

I need to upgrade my son's PC. He has a Lenovo desktop with an Intel i3 processor. I want to put in a i5 processor. i7 still seams a little expensive.

What do I need to look at to match a proper i5 CPU?
Robert SaylorSenior DeveloperAsked:
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You need to check exact motherboard model (or exact Lenovo model), and check what CPU models are supported for that motherboard.
Scott CSenior EngineerCommented:
You need to check the specs of the motherboard to see what processors it can take.

What is the model of the computer?

Go to Lenovo's website, put in the model of the computer and it will tell you what options  you have.

It is the same socket, to the i5 would fit.  But you need to check to see if you need to upgrade your BIOS as well to see if that is necessary for i5 support.

See here for some information that will help you in the upgrade process.

Robert SaylorSenior DeveloperAuthor Commented:
The current CPU is Intel i3 2120 3.3

The product family is IdeaCentre K430
Machine type 3109
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I can't find what are supported CPU's models for that motherboard, but since i7-3770 is listed everywhere it is safe to assume that any i5 that starts with 3xxx and 2xxx should be OK.
But, since you did mention that you do upgrade on son's PC, is reason gaming?
If playing games is reason for upgrade maybe it is much better investment to replace graphic card, of course depending on what graphic card is currently in PC.
Robert SaylorSenior DeveloperAuthor Commented:
Yes, it is gaming. I gave him my video adapter can't remember the specs but it was higher then his other adapter. I might swap his i3 with my i5 this weekend to see if that makes any difference before I buy him an i5. I will check before I take the i5 out of my home pc.
What is GPU on that PC?
You can check that using GPU-Z, or you can check in device manager under display adapter.
My son is still OK with i3-2100 and AMD-7750 GPU (although for gaming would be nice to have better GPU).
For gaming it is very important to have good GPU - especially for new games. My guess is that better GPU in your case would be better than i5 CPU. But I can't be sure till I know what is GPU.
To visualize importance of GPU for gaming (tests are performet with same CPU) High end GPU 2014, but have in mind that more powerful GPU can need much powerful power supply, so GPU you need to choose carefully. :)
You can compare GPU performance for specific games on this link.
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Your son's system supports Socket 1155 Ivy Bridge processors.    You can't just swap your i5 into it unless it's also a Socket 1155 CPU ... so you need to check your system's specs as well (unless, of course, it's the same model).

The highest performance chip you can likely use is an i7-3770, which scores 9365 on PassMark.   These are available on e-bay for ~ $250 or so.     An Ivy Bridge i5, such as the i5-3570, scores 6983 on PassMark (about 3/4ths of the i7's performance), but is a good bit less expensive ... around $150.    Note there are much less expensive offerings on e-bay for both of these, but read carefully ... some of these are defective chips.

Quite frankly, I'd be more inclined to simply do a complete motherboard/CPU/memory upgrade with a new Haswell-based board.    It'll cost more, but it'll be a much nicer system -- and you can still use whatever graphics board you want.
Robert SaylorSenior DeveloperAuthor Commented:
Thanks Gary,

Thanks for checking on that. I need to see what my CPU is. Hopefully it is a match but as it sounds there are most likely multiple types of i5 CPU's. Trying to do the poor man upgrade so will most likely start with CPU. He already has 8 GB of RAM so that should be plenty.
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
"... it sounds there are most likely multiple types of i5 CPU's ..." ==>  Yes, there have been multiple generations.

The original i5's used Socket 1156.
The 2nd and 3rd gen (Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge) used Socket 1155.
The current 4th gen (Haswell) and 5th gen (Broadwell) use Socket 1150.
The forthcoming 6th gen (Skylake) is going to use Socket 1151.

In addition, there are mobile and embedded variants of those that use different sockets.
As garycase said, you need to choose CPU for socket 1155. CPUs for other sockets are not compatible with your motherboard.
Socket 1155 CPUs also, it can happen that all of those are not compatible with your motherboard.
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Since your primary reason for the upgrade is to improve gaming performance, you should first confirm that the game(s) you're trying to improve are indeed CPU-bound and not GPU-bound.

Type Ctrl-Alt-Del and open task manager ... then minimize it and now run the game.   See what kind of CPU % is shown during the game (the little indicator will be completely full if it's 100% ... and pointing at it will show the current load %

If it's not running at or very near 100%, then a better CPU isn't what you need -- you need a higher-end graphics card.

Note, however, that if you add a high-end graphics card to the system, you may very well (likely WILL)  need to also replace the power supply with a higher wattage unit, as GPU's can draw quite a bit of power.

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The forthcoming 6th gen (Skylake) is going to use Socket 1151.
Skylake is already here and it is using socket 1151.
And In my previous post I wanted to say - some of processors on the list may be incompatible with your motherboard (but I could not edit it :) ).
Robert SaylorSenior DeveloperAuthor Commented:
Thanks I don't think he is using high CPU so I think your statement is correct. He needs a better graphics adapter.
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